South East News of October 31 welcomes us today with this headline goof: “Cancer prevention foundation partners Harvard varsity to fight scourge” A rewrite: Cancer-prevention Foundation partners Harvard Varsity to fight scourge (Please take note of the hyphenation and capitalization).
READ ALSO: Congratulate on/upon, not for
“Recent report (A recent report or recent reports, depending on context) that the NNPC, its subsidiary, the NPDC and some companies….”
“We decry the inability of the oil behemoth and other entities concerned to renege in (on) remitting the revenue to the government.”
The Business Report lead headline of November 5 fumbled: “How NIMASA can strenghten (sic) professionalism amongst (sic) Nigerian seafarers” A rewrite: How NIMASA can strengthen professionalism among Nigerian seafarers.
“Emmanuel not interested in white elephant projects” (South South News Headline, November 5) Just white elephants—no redundant ‘projects.
The Guardian of October 14 fumbled two times: “The United States has donated a whooping (whopping) N995 billion to the Multinational Joint Task Force to boost military operations against the Boko Haram insurgency, the U.S. government has said.” Conscience, Nurtured by Truth: no whooping cough, please.
“Also, the Presidency has pledged to garner the necessary investments to improve the wheeling capacity of the nation’s transmission infrastructure.” Would it have been ‘unnecessary’ investment?
Still on THE GUARDIAN under focus: “He said that is (was) why he would come back to salvage the state and rescue it to put it back to realize it’s (its) pride of place as he left it in 2003 and go even beyond that.”
“Cash and carry (Cash-and-carry) democracy, bane of Nigeria’s development”
“Falana supports Soyinka’s objections on (to) Sexual Offences Bill”
“Train to become a certified child care personnel (official)” ‘Personnel’ is a collective noun.
“In other jurisdiction (another jurisdiction or other jurisdictions), you don’t just file for the sake of filing, you can’t just take a matter for the sake of taken (taking) it.”
“We therefore regret any inconveniences this might cause our esteem (esteemed) distributors. This announcement is ordered by Tiens Group—Nigeria.”
“NDIC boss charges corps members on bank saving (bank-saving) culture”
“…and newly-elected officials sworn-in (sworn in) at the federal and state levels….” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation.
“Oil swap (Oil-swap) contracts: AITEO not front for Jonathan, Alison-Madueke—Spokes- person” Except if the headline caster meant that oil was swapping contracts!
“Jigawa council chairmen pledge support to (for) APC govt”
“I wish you many more years in good health and prosperity, to further your accomplishments to (in) journalism and humanity (service to humanity, you mean?)”
“I and my wife, Lady (My wife, Lady…and I….) Etymological sequence is critical to good writing.
“Use of made-in Nigerian (Nigeria) cars by Mr. President will lift auto industry”
“Tribunal will recover Abia stolen mandate, APGA chieftain assures” Who did the chieftain assure?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY of November 11 comes up next with the following errors: “Dangote commissions (inaugurates/auspicates/launches, et al) $500 million cement plant in Ethiopia”
“Osinbajo to flag off (inaugurate) superhighway in Cross River”
“First and foremost, you must look at the PDP; they mismanaged their victory and haven (having) mismanaged the victory….”
“The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria…played very prominent roles during the electioneering campaigns that ushered in the new administration.” ‘Electioneering’ and ‘campaigns’ cannot co-exist in the same lexical environment as the former encompasses the latter.
From THE NATION of July 30 comes the next set of diseased lines: “Ekweremadu: Igbos (Igbo) right to vote for PDP”
“On the occasion of your birthday anniversary….” For the umpteenth time, ‘birthday’ and ‘anniversary’ cannot co-function. ‘Birthday’ is the anniversary/commemoration of one’s birth.
Take note that the old, grammatical rule that “one” must be followed by “one” and its parts –“one, one’s, oneself”, has changed. The feeling that the repetition of “one” – – – one’s (e.g. One must do what one can to ensure one’s family a decent standard of living) makes for a stilted style has now led to the permissible shift from “one, one’s” to “he, his” (e.g. One must do what he can to ensure his family a decent standard of living).
In general, a shift in the number or nature of pronouns is undesirable, but this particular shift is established usage. Examples: When one is in power and things go his way in highly competitive elections, his first task is to fight his own mentality. Perhaps one has gone to the university where he has been given the wrong orientation that his degree is an opportunity to reach for the skies just like that. One could be said to hate himself if he lacks self–confidence in his abilities.
Every user of the language, particularly every journalist or communicator, must keep abreast of the current changes—the dynamics—in the language.
It seems to me that most pen brothers of mine either do not read Wordsworth or they are simply lazy in the head. Now, in whose pool of blood is a person shot or stabbed to death supposed to lie? And how do we know “unknown gunmen”?
The import of my intervention with regard to the word “decampment”, published in this column on October 24 appears to have been missed, judging from an undeserved stinging feedback a week later. Granted the word is listed as a noun derived from “decamp” (word not in dispute) in a few dictionaries, it is not a substitute or synonym for “defection” which the concerned writer meant. Longman (Contemporary English), Oxford Advanced Learner’s and Chambers are some standard dictionaries and are not meant for us in the nursery school. The phrase “available to me” was my honest submission. So, it is regrettable that a lofty and highly interactive portal such as Wordsworth is being turned to a platform for hurling abuses and insults at this columnist!